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Prof. Dr. Thomas Schulz

Prof. Dr. Thomas F. Schulz is full (C4) Professor of Virology and Director of the Institute of Virology at MHH.

Research Interests and Achievements
My research focusses on Kaposi Sacoma herpesvirus (KSHV), the cause of Kaposi Sarcoma, primary effusion lymphoma and the plasma cell variant of Multicentric Castleman’s Disease. My contributions to this field include studies on the distribution, transmission and tumour association of this virus, using serological assays that we had developed on the basis of recombinant viral proteins. My group was the first to clone the viral gene encoding the latent nuclear antigen, LANA, (Rainbow et al., 1997) and to identify the K15 gene, a multiply and variably spliced KSHV gene (Glenn et al., 1999). In the last 10 years we have been characterising different aspects of these viral proteins, such as the signal transduction pathways initiated and cellular genes activated by K15 and its role in KSHV-induced angiogenesis (Bala et al., 2012). We also showed for the first time that a member of the BET protein family of human chromatin proteins interacts with a viral protein (i.e. LANA). Together with T. Lührs, HZI, we have recently solved the molecular structure of the c-terminal, DNA-binding, domain of LANA and used this structural information to derive new insights into the role of BET proteins in the viral life cycle (Hellert, Weidner-Glunde et al., 2013). Other research projects deal with the role of p73 in the survival of KSHV-infected cells (Santag et al., 2012) and the identification of new inhibitors to target KSHV persistence and replication.